SNACC Executive

Gus Noble, OBE – President, Chicago Scots

Gus Noble, OBE was born in 1969 in Dundee, Scotland. He grew up in the Duns, in the Scottish Borders. In 1992, after graduating from the University of Stirling, Gus moved to Chicago, where he worked for the British Consulate General for seven years. 

During this time he  concentrated on developing UK-US trade and investment. In 1999, Gus completed a Business to Business Marketing Strategy course at Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Following 1999’s devolution of Government authorities in the United Kingdom, Gus established and operated the first overseas office of the Welsh Assembly Government in Chicago. Gus took up his current appointment in August 2004. 

Gus serves on the Board of the Admiral at the Lake and the Rosehill Cemetery Reserve Fund. Gus supports Newcastle United Football Club and plays electric bass guitar in a Scottish-American honky-tonk band. Gus is married to Aisha. They have two sons, Bobby and Langston.

Camilla G. Hellman, MBE – President, American Scottish Foundation

Camilla Hellman’s career has been transatlantic relations, undertaking projects both in Britain and the United States to further  collaboration between the two countries.

Brought up in Britain ( “I  am a hodge-podge – English, Scottish, German, French-Swiss”), Camilla  came to the USA in 1990. She loved the challenges and enthusiasm she  found in the States, and started an import company representing leading luxury manufacturers and selling to major retailers.

Moved by the  events of 9/11, she conceived and led on the creation of the British Memorial Garden in Manhattan’s Financial District and headed its  organization as President from 2002 – 2009, during which time the Park  received four royal visits. The Park was further honored by a visit from HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2010 when it was renamed the Queen  Elizabeth II September 11 Garden.

Camilla joined the American-Scottish Foundation in 2009 as Development Director, becoming  Executive Director in 2012 and was elected President in 2017. In addition to increasing the ASF’s  charitable work, Camilla has developed diverse event programs, often involving exhibits and performances, with a strong multimedia platform.

Camilla represents the ASF on the National Tartan Day New York Committee.

Camilla serves on the Board of The Foreign Press Association and Make Music New York.

In 2007, Camilla was honored by HM Queen Elizabeth II and awarded the MBE for services to British-American relations.

John King Bellassai, JD – President, Council of Scottish Clans & Associations (COSCA)

John King Bellassai is an attorney and management consultant. He is a  graduate of Georgetown University’s College of Arts & Sciences and  the Georgetown University Law Center. 

John’s maternal grandfather, after  who he is named, emigrated to New York City from the little Loch Lomondside town of Killearn (of Rob Roy Fame) in Stirlingshire in 1910.

John’s  interest in his Scottish heritage has been a life-long one. He is  President of the Council of Scottish Clans & Associations (COSCA),  which is essentially the national professional association for the clan societies in America, of which there are some 140. A Past President of  the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington, DC, John is currently Vice  President of The National Capital Tartan Day Committee, Inc. (NCTDC) and  Secretary of The Living Legacy of Scotland, Inc. – a founding member of  the Scottish Coalition, USA. Past Chancellor (in-house legal counsel) of the American Clan Gregor, Society, Inc. (ACGS), John currently serves  as Chairman of the ACGS Board of Trustees, a five-member group which  manages the invested assets of this nonprofit charitable corporation. He  and his wife, Judith Walton, live and work in Washington, DC.

Lt. Governor John Cherry, Jr. – Chairman of The Trustees, St Andrew’s Society of Detroit

 John Cherry became Michigan’s Lt. Governor in 2003 when he was elected along with Governor Jennifer Granholm. Together, they served as Michigan’s Executive leaders for the constitutionally allotted eight years. Before that Lt. Governor Cherry served the people of Michigan for more than 20 years as a State Representative and as State Senator. 

For  six of those years, he served as the Senate Democratic Leader. During  his nearly three decades of state public service, John Cherry developed a  reputation as a fair-minded legislator who forged relationships with  other legislators regardless of political party. During his service, John authored and co-sponsored several Michigan laws dealing with  political reform, environmental protection and conservation.

The  Cherry Commission on Higher Education & Economic Growth brought higher education into the larger discussion of creating and retaining  jobs in Michigan. It was also recognized nationally as a road map for  higher education policy, and it won praises from President Obama when he came to Michigan to unveil his National Community College Initiative.  During his tenure as Lt. Governor, John Cherry was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saginaw Valley State University, an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Central Michigan University and a gubernatorial appointment to the Midwestern Higher Education Compact.

Maggie McEwan – Vice President, The Scottish Studies Foundation

Maggie McEwan was born close to London, England and spent many summers in Balloch sailing on Loch Lomond with her Scottish cousins. Maggie lived her teenage years in Southport, Lancashire and later worked and studied in Liverpool. Maggie emigrated to Toronto, Canada as the first stop on her working journey around the world. Having recently received notice that she had been elected a

Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, she quickly found work in the computer lab at the University of Toronto, as a Systems Analyst on their new mainframe system.  

She has a son and family in Toronto, a daughter and family in Chicago and now lives in the countryside around Toronto and Guelph.

Maggie’s wish to nurture and preserve the Scottish heritage and culture in Canada led her to return to Scottish Country Dancing and to join the Boards of various non-profit Scottish Societies.

She became a member of the Scottish Studies Foundation some years ago and was quickly invited to join the Board of Directors.

Maggie is a past President of the Foundation, Canadian Commissioner  for the Clan MacEwen Society and a volunteer for Fergus Highland Games.

William Petrie – Chair, Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada (CASSOC)

William Robert Merritt Petrie is a Toronto native with primarily a career in Information Technology, Business Analysis and Knowledge Architecture. After spending several decades in Quebec, William returned to the Toronto area and added corporate training as well as a serious sideline in theatre, Improv, singing, music composition and performance. A second music album is in development to join a single and initial album he has already released under a pseudonym.   

William, as a tenor, has toured several times with choirs for performances in France (Notre Dame), Vatican City, Wales, Austria, Czech Republic and Italy, Ireland and Scotland, originally for July 2020, is now being rescheduled for Summer 2021.

William combines his paternal Scottish heritage of MacGregors through roots back to Edinburgh in the early 1800s with United Empire Loyalists (Merritts and Hamiltons) on his maternal side.  He is a member of the Clan Gregor Canada Council and co-editor of the MapleLeaf MacGregor newsletter www.mapleleafmacgregor.ca

In the past, William has served on the Senate of York University and the IT Curriculum Advisory Committee for the University of Toronto Engineering Faculty. In addition to being Chair, William is also the editor of An Drochaid – The Bridge, CASSOC’s quarterly newsletter.  

Jo Ann Munro Tuskin, U.E., B.A., B.Ed. Secretary, Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada (CASSOC)

Jo Ann M. Tuskin became interested in her Scottish heritage while doing her family tree at Toronto Teachers’ College in the early 1960s and became a member of Clan Munro (Association) in Scotland at that time. In 1975, she attended the inaugural meeting of Clan Munro Association of Canada (CMAC) and has been the Secretary since that time. She is also the Editor, Librarian and Genealogist for CMAC. In 1976, CMAC was one of the groups that founded Clans and Scottish Societies of Canada (CASSOC) and has continued to be an active member. Over the years, Jo Ann has been Secretary and Editor at various times for CASSOC, and is currently the Secretary.

Jo Ann earned her B.A. and B.Ed. from York University in Toronto
while teaching full-time. After retirement, she taught Kindergarten in Turkey at a Private International School for four years, and currently is an Occasional Teacher for the Toronto Catholic District School Board – a teaching career that spans over 50 years! Jo Ann’s ancestors are United Empire Loyalists (refugees from the Revolutionary War) and in 2008 she provided the documentary proof to the United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada and is entitled to use the post-nominal initials, U.E., for Unity of Empire – the only hereditary title allowed in Canada.

Kevin James – The University of Guelph

Kevin James is Professor of Modern Scottish History at the University of Guelph and holds the Scottish Studies Foundation Chair.

A graduate of McGill University, where he obtained the highest standing in Arts in his graduating year, and of Edinburgh University, where he held a Commonwealth Scholarship, Kevin is a prolific author who has held many grants and fellowships, and collaborated in research partnerships around the world. 

A specialist in modern Scottish tourism and travel history, Kevin is also Director of the University’s Centre for Scottish Studies.

Michael A. Reid

Michael Reid, a member of the American-Scottish Foundation board and several of its committees, has long been active in Scottish-American affairs, having also served on the regional council for Clan Donnachaidh Society and the board of New York Caledonian Club, the planning committee for SNACC, as well as of the Cameron Scottish Dancers, and is active in two other New York City-based Scottish dance groups.  

His working life has included nearly two decades of supporting senior executives and boards at nonprofits in the education and healthcare fields as well as for profit firms in the financial technology arena.  But Reid has also had success as a performer, singing with New York Grand Opera, New Jersey State Opera, National Grand Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York, New York Philharmonic, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble for Early Music, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Renee Fleming, Soupy Sales, the Muppets and many more artists.  He has also provided a home for a succession of rescue dogs, mostly miniature Schnauzers.

Jamie McGeechan

Jamie McGeechan is a Scottish musician and writer now based in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Originally hailing from Ayr, Scotland, Jamie is an Ambassador for the American Scottish Foundation, World Peace Tartan, TamFest and the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

He has released three albums, one of them recorded live inside Burns Cottage in Ayrshire, birthplace of  Robert Burns and his second album Midnight Kingdom was nominated for Scottish Album of The Year in 2020. He has performed from Ayrshire to Australia and across the USA. He was invited to perform at the opening of the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and has collaborated and performed with a wide range of Scottish talent and artists including Brian Cox, Dougie MacLean, OBE, Eddi Reader, Capercaillie, Midge URE, OBE.

In 2020 he released a book of original poetry, Glaikit, in Scots and English which became a best seller on Amazon.

As the Music Ambassador for the American-Scottish Foundation he hosts the monthly Sounds From Scotland program celebrating the best of new Scottish music and celebrating the cultural links and communities of Scotland and North America.

Charles L Sherwood

Charles L Sherwood lives in Denver and is recently retired from full time employment, having spent over43 years as an attorney and oil & gas professional.

Charlie has been active in Scottish cultural groups for over 20 years. Charlie is or has been on the Executive Board of the Clan Scott Society (President 2011-2015, 2020-present), Scottish Club of Tulsa past-President), Colorado St Andrew’s Society, and Council of Scottish Clans and Associations.

Charlie first visited relatives in the Scottish Borders as a child in the 1960’s and has made numerous trips to Scotland since. Charlie and his wife Dona are collectors of Scottish Malt whisky and were co-founders of the Oklahoma Malt Whisky Society. Charlie has taken formal training in single malts and he and Dona frequently hold charitable whisky tastings.